This morning someone brought to my attention an article in the guardian, which has kind of wound me up. The article in question was written by a lady called Bibi Lynch, and was entitled, ‘Mothers, stop moaning!’
Ms Lynch has found herself unable to conceive, but she would desperately love a baby and the opportunity to bear one of her own. In the article she discusses women who have children and complain about aspects of motherhood that she would love the opportunity to experience. I won’t put words into her mouth (and I hope what i’ve written so far was fair, if not then i apologise and will retract it, no question) but i would suggest that if it’s a subject of interest to you, that you read the article, here.
Before I get into my thoughts on the article, a little about me. I do not have children, I do not now and have never wanted to have children. I’m 32, and my biological clock must be digital because I’ve been listening for it and there’s not a hint of a tick. This might be for the best, because I’m diabetic, which doesn’t mean i *can’t* or *shouldn’t* have children, just that there would be extra levels of precautions, i would need to spend months preparing my body before i even started trying to conceive, and would then probably be monitored to the point of stalking throughout gestation.
I read this article from the viewpoint of an alien, a woman who understands neither the trials of motherhood, nor the agony brought by my body refusing to do what i consider to be a biological imperative, and which i might have spent decades assuming i would do at the drop of a hat when the time was right.
In this article, the writer bemoans the insensitivity of those who have children, she wishes they’d stop whining about inconveniences that she would give her right hand for. She feels misunderstood, sidelined, a second class citizen, and that someone complaining that the healthy baby growing inside her isn’t of her preferred gender is unfair, and ungrateful, and wrong.
I happen to agree with this. I happen to think that if you are going to have a baby, you’re going to have a baby. If you decide to try for a son, and you get a daughter, then boo hoo, but yay, BABY.
However, i feel like this article, written very articulately and movingly straight from the heart of a woman going through something that i’ve yet to see a clearer insight into, landed on the page through a prism of bitterness. I know she doesn’t want to take away your baby if you mention you’re tired because baby’s teething, but that somehow feels like it’s only a step away.
What she is going through is awful, i cannot imagine the pain, i really can’t, and if you didn’t get bitter from time to time, i’d find it even harder to understand. Hell, i’ve had flashes of rage about someone else being allowed to eat cake when i can’t. But i do not feel that this one aspect of a very complex issue is worthy of a whole article.
The article reads to me like a woman i kind of want to hug at certain points is having one of those moments where you know you’re being irrational but you don’t care because why should someone else have what you want? I feel quite bad for her that for all this whole situation puts her through, *this* is the moment she chooses to publish for posterity.
I can imagine the desire, the urge, the physical pull, must be all-encompassing, but i can only imagine it, and i really don’t want to give the impression that i have any experience of either side of this. I’ve already said i didn’t. And i’m not negating what Ms Lynch feels, because if something makes someone angry that’s no business of mine.
However, i don’t feel it’s appropriate to attack a group of society that falls under the label of Mother, using your own label of Childless to hide behind. These two groups should be able to cohabit on this earth, this shouldn’t be made into a polarising issue, but that’s what this article does. Women with children are understandably angry at being told what they can and cannot say, being told that they should be ashamed of what they feel, that they should shut their mouths when they’re tired, worried, restricted, sick. Women who can’t have children are grateful that this article brings attention to what they’re going through, and resent mothers arguing against it, feel that they’re being told to shut up again, that they can’t understand what it’s like to be a mother, a reminder they can scarcely be expected to be thankful for, when there is nothing in this world or any other that they desire more.
Speaking as self-appointed referee, i propose that women who are unable to have children be allowed to say to moaning mothers, ‘what i wouldn’t give to be in your shoes’ and that moaning mothers be allowed to reply ‘i truly wish that one day you will experience a love so strong and biological that it can exhaust you so deeply as this’ and that these women might sit down for a coffee, discuss politics and red lipstick, hug goodbye and arrange to meet again next weekend.
Nobody should be discouraged from sharing their woes, whatever the source. OK, so i wouldn’t complain about mt diamond shoes being too tight to a friend who’s e-baying her jewellery to pay her rent, but if i did, i must say i would be fine if she told me to fuck off back to my turret. What we need is tactful dialogue, understanding through discussion.
I was fascinated to read this article, i am a person who sees all sides of any argument, which is not to say that i won’t pick a side after considering the options. I can see, from the outside, both side of this argument.
I just fundamentally disagree with it having been made into an argument at all.